Friday, September 21, 2012

Flannel Friday: Baseball

I really wanted to to incorporate some type of baseball related flannel board into the Fall Sports story time I did last week. But, I was at a loss for how exactly to accomplish this. But, while planning another story time session, I came across this post at Story Time Secrets about Squirrels.

Katie mentioned Melissa Depper's Down Around the Corner rhymes at Mel's Desk. Melissa mentions that one adaptation of the rhyme could be about baseball caps at a store. I took that idea and changed it around a little for my story time and ended up with:

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball hat and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that hat and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball mitt and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that mitt and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball bat and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that bat and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that baseball and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball uniform and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that uniform and they took it away.

To make the flannel board a little more interactive, I handed out the five "nickels" and used those story timers' names in the rhyme:

...Along came John with a nickel to pay...

Each child came up to the board and placed the nickel above the item they were purchasing. This was easily my favorite part of the Fall Sports story time. I'm hoping everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did!

(I just wanted to add that I found some great (free) clip art from Scholastic Printables that I was able to use as templates for the flannel pieces.)

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted at Rain Makes Applesauce.

Story Time: Fall Sports

We've started fall story times, even though it isn't officially fall until Saturday. I thought it would be fun to start fall story times with a sports theme. And after looking through all of the options for sports related picture books, that are available at my library, I settled on baseball and soccer.

Opening: Good morning song (Good morning _____, repeat 2 more times, How are you today?) We had some children who were new to story time, so it was nice to learn everyone's name and welcome them at the same time.

We have a relatively young story time crowd, so I try to do the same opening set of songs each time. Also, each child picks an animal puppet that they hold on to until we sing Old MacDonald, I've noticed that if I hold on to the animals, a lot of the children get distracted. So the opening set consists of:

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Open Shut Them
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Old MacDonald Has A Farm

Book 1: Take Me Out To the Ball Game by Maryann Kovalski. We sang this one, well, all of the adults sang, but it was nice to hear all the voices.

Next I introduced This is Big, a rhyme that is new to me. It was a big hit during this story time, so I'm going to include it more often.

A big story time favorite is If You're Happy and You Know It, I try to change up the actions. This time we did - wave your arms, and touch your nose, in addition to the traditional actions.

This was an antsy group so we continued to sing:
I'm a Little Tea Pot
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Where is Thumbkin?
The Wheels on the Bus
Do You Know the Muffin Man?
ABC Song

Book 2 Froggy Plays Soccer by Jonathan London. This book was a little long, but I improvised as I went along. And the kids laughed each time I yelled for Froggy. 

Flannel Board:  I introduced a new flannel board rhyme: Down Around the Corner with baseball related items - a hat, mitt, bat, ball, and uniform. (This will be my Flannel Friday post later today.)

We sang a few more songs, including Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Two Little Blackbirds

Book 3: Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies - I attempted a third book, but everyone was still very antsy, so a few pages in I put the book down and we sang more songs:

Row Row Row Your Boat
10 Little Fingers
Ring Around the Rosie
Hokey Pokey
Closing: Zoom Zoom Zoom

Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon!
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon!
If you want to take a trip
Climb aboard my rocket ship!
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon! 
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 
5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
Blast off!
Source: taught to me by a co-worker

This story time turned into more of a musical story time than I anticipated. But, I've learned to keep a few extra songs at the ready just in case. I've started asking the adults and children for song requests too, towards the end. I've learned a couple of new songs this way. Sometimes I get asked to sing a song we've already sung, so we do an encore. 

I try to walk the line of being prepared for story time and being flexible and ready for the unexpected. This time around I wasn't quite prepared for the antsy-ness, but I hope that everyone ended up enjoying themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Character Interview - T.J. from Ten

1. Hi T.J.! Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. So, were you ever a fan of scary movies? If yes, are you still?

Some of my best dates have been at scary movies.  It's always nice to have a cute girl cuddling up to you when she's cowering in fear from the ax-wielding maniac on screen.  I don't really care either way about the stories, but I'm a fan, if you know what I mean.

2. Tell me a little more about your love of boats; Do you have a favorite type boat/ship?

Shhh.  Dude.  No one's supposed to do know that!  People are going to think I'm some kind of nerd.  (But have you ever seen Paul Allen's yacht Octopus?  Holy crap, that thing is SWEET!)

3. Oops, sorry about that. But, if you could captain a ship to anywhere around the globe, where would you sail to? 

I'd go somewhere warm and quiet, like Mallorca or Antibes, with someone very special and just hide from the rest of the world.

4. Now, let’s shift gears a little. Are you excited about playing college football?

Yes and no.  Don't get me wrong.  I love playing football.  And I love that it allows me to do things like go to a top tier university on a full ride scholarship.  But I don't view it as my lifetime goal to play in the NFL.  I'll give the sport my all while I'm in college, and then if I'm good enough and a team wants me?  So be it.

5. If an NFL team did want you, which team would you love to play for after college?

The Seattle Seahawks, of course!  HOME TOWN BOYS!

6. As a librarian I have to ask, what was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?

I read TheUnbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera last month and really loved it. 

7. If you were stranded on a desert island what four items would you hope to find with you?

The usual: something to build shelter, something to be able to hunt or fish with, something to hold water.  And maybe a beautiful smiling face to share it all with.

8. Still on the desert island: What person (either dead or alive) would you want to be stuck with?

I think that's one secret I'll keep to myself.  ;)

For more information about the TEN Blog Tour visit Me, My Shelf and I

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown.  Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011.  Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi horror pitched as The Parent Trap meets Event Horizon, is scheduled for Fall 2013.

 Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.  Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blog Tour - Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten Cover

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Review based on ARC 

And their doom comes swiftly.

 It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher.

 But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

 Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Usually I don’t search out scary books to read. I’m normally a wimp when it comes to the scary - whether in print or movie form. But, sometimes books come along that surprise me and even begin to sway me towards a genre I wouldn’t normally read. Well, last year one of those surprising books was Possess, which had a great balance of scary and not so scary. And to be honest, the scary has been growing on me, a little. So once I heard about TEN, I knew that it would find its way onto my 2012 To-be-Read list.

Despite my (shrinking) aversion to scary stories, I love a good twisty, turn-y mystery, especially one that keeps you on your toes and guessing until the end. Gretchen McNeil deftly combines mystery with smallish touches of horror in TEN, to create a just right blend of genres that kept me hooked from the first page.

 One of my all time favorite mysteries is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. After reading the synopsis, my first thought was that it sounded similar but with teens and a modern setting. And while Ms. McNeil pays homage to Agatha Christie, TEN is thoroughly her own creation. Details about Henry Island, White Rock House, the DVD with its creepy and menacing message, the raging storm and the killer’s eerie method of communication all add to the reading experience.

Upon finding a DVD labeled “Don’t Watch Me,” Minnie says, “This is how horror movies start.”  (ARC, pg 58) A few times, I did want to warn the characters to remember Minnie’s mention of horror movies, in a you might want to think about your next move type of way. But, Minnie’s statement could also be about the book too, because several of the scenes were very vivid and began thinking about how they would look on a screen.

The third person narration from Meg’s point of view really helped to keep up the suspense. And I like how she was kept away from the action several times, so that the reader experienced the fallout with her. Though in the second half of the book, there were some pieces of information I felt Meg received too late, that if they had come earlier in the book, they would have made more of an impact to the story. This is where the length of the book plays a factor; the just less than 300 page length did not feel sufficient. It left me with some questions, the most persistent was how the killer could organize the entire weekend and all the different pieces that had to be put into place to make it work out the they wanted it to. But, maybe the reader isn’t meant to know that. Not knowing the answer didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book, but I can see how some readers may find not having the answer a bit troublesome.

Overall, TEN did keep me reading. I found Meg to be an interesting choice for the point of view character, with her writer’s observations, and the third person narration did help to move the story along at a good pace. I ended up liking the more gruesome scenes more than I thought I would. I found red herrings and twists fun in that they did keep me guessing as to the killer’s identity and they led to a conclusion that had a few unexpected bits. To me, those are the best type of conclusions.

Fans of thrillers and those who enjoy a good (twisty) mystery will enjoy TEN. And of course, if you liked Possess, you should pick up this book too. 

You can find out more about The TEN Blog Tour by visiting Me, My Shelf and I


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